The effects of individual weaning based on birth weight on growth performance and milk yield in dairy goats


Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of using birth weight of kids for weaning on growth and milk yield characteristics of Saanen and Alpine goats. A total of 24 does and their 40 kids were assigned to weaning groups when the kids reached three (X3) or four times (X4) their individual birth weights. The experimental design was a 2 x 2 factorial design with two weaning stages (X3 vs. X4) and two breeds (S: Saanen; A: Alpine). The averages of weaning age of the SX3, AX3, SX4, and AX4 kids were determined as 42.75, 42.21, 53.15, and 65.81 days, respectively. The weaning groups and the interaction between weaning and breed had effects (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively) on weaning age of the kids. The average daily weight gain before weaning was different in weaning groups (P < 0.001). On the contrary, the growth performances of the kids until breeding age were not different between groups. The milk yield characteristics of dams in groups were not different. The results indicated that weaning at a predetermined weight based on birth weight can be done successfully in dairy goats under intensive conditions.

Keywords: Alpine, birth weight, Saanen, weaning criterion, weaning time

Full Text: PDF